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Police Commissioner calls for people to #KeepChristmasKind when shopping

ACTING Police and Crime Commissioner, Ray Bisby is today (1st December 2020) adding his voice to a national campaign to raise awareness of the abuse some shop workers are receiving when serving customers.

The campaign, #KeepChristmasKind, which is being backed in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough by the Combined Authority, Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses, highlights the need for people to respect government guidance when shopping and both respect and protect shopworkers from intimidation, bad language and abuse.

According to retail trade union USDAW, (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Worker), every minute of the working day during the pandemic a shopworker nationally has been verbally abused, threatened with violence or physically attacked. Moreover, 76% of shopworkers say that incidents of violence, threats and abuse have been worse during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Acting Police and Crime Commissioner, Ray Bisby said:

“There is a real concern that people working in our local shops could bear the brunt of some shoppers’ frustrations, whether it’s about wearing masks or adhering to social distancing measures, leading to more abuse and assaults.

“Everyone has the right to go to work without fear of intimidation or violence. I want to send out a strong message that any violence against shop workers is unacceptable and will continue to work with business representatives locally to support the national effort to bring an end towards shop worker abuse.

“Please be kind this Christmas and remember that there is an individual and family behind each individual working in retail premises.”

A short film has been produced by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne featuring the stories of the families of three shop workers who have spoken out about the abuse their loved ones have faced during the pandemic. The #KeepChristmasKind film can be viewed on YouTube here:

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer added:

“This year has been a particularly difficult year for our high streets and retail staff and local businesses need our support now more than ever. Be kind, wear a mask and keep your space and together we can celebrate the festive season safely.”

“Shop workers across Cambridgeshire are going above and beyond for their customers and should not have to fear being threatened or abused by customers in the workplace.” added Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce Chief Executive, John Bridge OBE DL.

Alan Todd, East of England Regional Policy Lead for the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“The FSB are happy to support this campaign, this is the season of goodwill and that includes respecting those workers in our high streets who are helping to make our Christmas as normal as possible in these very difficult times, they also deserve a great Christmas.”

To take part in the online conversation search for #KeepingChristmasKind and #ShopworkerSuperhero on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.